Comparing NestJS vs Next.js: Choosing the Right Framework for Your Project

The popularity of Next.js is confirmed by 113 thousand stars and 25 thousand forks on GitHub. NestJS, on the other hand, has slightly fewer stars – 8.8 thousand and only 804 GitHub forks. Nevertheless, both platforms are quite common among web development specialists. Their functionality provides extensive possibilities for creating various types of web applications and websites.

The experts at Lampa Software have prepared an introductory material for you, "NestJS vs Next.js." Read on to find out which one is ideal for your web development project.

Understanding NestJS

NestJS is an entire platform that is perfectly suited for developing scalable and easily maintainable corporate web apps. According to Stackshare, approximately 378 companies have this framework in their tech stacks. The popularity of NestJS continues to grow, and to understand the reasons for this, let's take a closer look at it.

What is NestJS?

NestJS functions as a platform for creating server-side applications. This web framework uses the JavaScript programming language and also supports TypeScript and Node.js. Nest offers developers a ready-made architecture similar to the Angular framework, which significantly simplifies the creation of easily testable, scalable, loosely coupled, and easy-to-maintain apps. It is primarily used for backend development.

NestJS also employs reliable HTTP server platforms such as Fastify or Express. Furthermore, it combines the following aspects of programming:

  • Object-Oriented Programming (OOP)

  • Functional Programming (FP)

  • Functional Reactive Programming (FRP)

Features of NestJS

Let's explore the key features that have made this framework so popular among web developers:

  • It is compatible with any database that supports TypeScript, such as MongoDB or PostgreSQL.

  • Offers cross-platform functionality and flexibility, which helps accelerate your project's development.

  • Allows you to use the file system as an API, eliminating the need for additional configurations.

  • Built on Node.js, making it possible to use the Node.js platform for developing server-side web solutions.

  • Enables the development of apps in a modular structure, where some modules depend on others, allowing you to use the same code and methods for multiple projects.

Use Cases for NestJS

NestJS has built-in support for features such as intelligent routing and server-side rendering and is suitable for creating static web apps. Thanks to its modularity, the framework allows you to install only the packages needed for a specific project.

In web development, NestJS is often used to build:

  • Server-side apps

  • Dynamically generated web solutions

  • Static web applications

  • E-commerce apps

  • Real-time chat apps and much more

Exploring Next.js

When considering the topic of NestJS vs. Next.js, it's time to delve into the second framework, which remains a priority for React developers. Based on Google Trends data, the popularity trend of Next.js in January 2022 jumped from 22 to 38 and began to steadily rise. At the time of writing this article, user interest in Next.js had reached a score of 99. So, let's delve into the reasons for the rapidly growing popularity of this framework.

What is Next.js?

Next.js is a JavaScript framework based on the open-source React library and designed for building user interfaces. It contains all the necessary React features, making it a common choice for working on server-side rendering and static sites and web apps. Its open-source nature also makes the framework available to many IT professionals, which explains the strong community support. Unlike NestJS, Next.js focuses more on front-end development.

Key Features of Next.js

Setting up Next.js is relatively straightforward since it has its own Node.js server. This allows developers to use the framework to deliver users simple indexable HTML results without the complexities of programming architecture, data caching, and more.

Next.js also provides web developers with all the necessary features for developing professional and reliable web solutions:

  • Ensures high SEO performance by performing server-side rendering.

  • Comes with a Head component that allows for setting dynamic meta-tags.

  • Simplifies JavaScript code rendering and application launch.

  • Automatically code-splits, ensuring fast page loading.

  • Has a wide IT community support, making it easier to find specialists ready to help with project issues.

Use Cases for Next.js

This JavaScript framework is relatively easy to use and is primarily used to create scalable, fast, and easily testable web solutions. For example:

  • Interactive user interfaces

  • Complex applications

  • Web portals

  • Dynamic web apps

  • Static applications, and more.

Comparing NestJS and Next.js

To get a full picture of the Next.js vs NestJS comparison, let's compare these two frameworks based on several key characteristics.

Architecture and Development Approach

Comparing the approaches to backend and frontend development on both platforms, we have the following results:

  • NestJS:

    • Language: Primarily TypeScript, providing type-checking to verify code components during compilation, simplifying the work of programmers.

    • Architecture: Modular structure that helps create microservices apps with tools for handling HTTP requests, databases, and API connections to implement business logic.

    • Server Logic: A set of functions, including middleware, security tools, and decorators, to handle various aspects of request processing.

    • Data Handling: Uses various databases, such as MongoDB and Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) systems, including TypeORM, Sequelize, and Prisma.

  • Next.js:

    • Languages: JavaScript and TypeScript, allowing IT professionals to develop dynamic React apps.

    • Architecture: Server-side rendering (SSR) and static site generation (SSG) improve productivity and page loading speed, positively impacting SEO performance.

    • API Routes: Simple internal functionality and handling various types of requests without setting up a separate internal server.

    • Data Handling: Data retrieval through functions like getServerSideProps, getStaticProps, and getInitialProps allows developers to fetch data on the server-side during rendering.

Server-Side Rendering vs. Client-Side Rendering

NestJS is not designed for client-side rendering (CSR). However, the framework can serve static resources and provide API connections for external apps built on Angular, React, or Vue.js platforms. NestJS also allows the creation of websockets for interactive two-way communication between the server and the client.

Next.js defaults to server-side rendering but is also oriented towards CSR, which is typical for React applications. It provides features such as automatic code splitting, pre-fetching, and optimized rendering for fast and responsive user interaction. 

Scalability and Performance Considerations

These characteristics are important aspects of creating a successful web application, and both NestJS and Next.js provide all the necessary features and capabilities.


NestJS

Next.js

Scalability

Building websites with NestJS guarantees easy horizontal scalability. The framework also supports microservices architecture, which breaks down web solutions into multiple manageable services that distribute the load and enhance scalability.

Apps developed on Next.js are horizontally scalable. The platform also supports serverless deployment, enabling web solutions to automatically scale as traffic increases.

Performance

Characterized by high speed and efficiency thanks to Node.js. Its unmanaged architecture allows for handling a large number of connections simultaneously. NestJS also provides various query optimization methods, caching mechanisms, and more.

Server-side rendered, a feature inherent to the framework, ensures fast initial page loading. Static site generation creates HTML files during build, reducing the server load and improving performance. Additionally, Next.js uses automatic code splitting, allowing for the loading of only the necessary JavaScript and CSS for specific web pages, significantly speeding up site loading for users by reducing the initial data package size.

Both frameworks use similar methods to enhance scalability and improve performance: database query optimization, caching, and serverless deployment. Thus, NestJS and Next.js provide you with ample opportunities to achieve easy expansion and increased capacity for your web resource.

Choosing the Right Framework

To make the right choice of a development platform, consider the following recommendations from experienced experts at Lampa:

Project Requirements and Goals

Begin by researching the idea behind your project to determine:

  • Key features and their quantity.

  • The complexity of the solution.

  • The need for scalability and performance.

After conducting research, you will understand which framework best suits your project. Using this data, you will also find it easier to assemble an IT team with the expertise and tech stack that precisely matches your project's needs.

Combination of NestJS and Next.js

Developers often use the strengths of Next.js and NestJS to create different parts of full-featured applications. For example, Next.js, by default, separates API routes to simplify deployment in a serverless environment, which can lead to a high number of database connections.

NestJS can support proxy API routes with a database or the Mongoose library, which establishes connections between MongoDB and your runtime environment. This simplifies combining sets of connections and optimizes your site's performance.

The server-side part developed with NestJS helps address data access issues, while Next.js focuses on the user interface level. This results in a more stable and reliable operation of your web application.

Conclusion

In summarizing the competition of Next.js vs. NestJS, we see that these frameworks are different technologies, each designed to achieve specific goals:

  • NestJS is a reliable environment for building scalable and easy-to-maintain server-side applications. 

  • Next.js, on the other hand, is applied in front-end development and offers all the necessary features for creating static websites. 

Therefore, when choosing a suitable framework, consider the type of your project and what you need to build – back or front-end.

And which framework does your project need? Lampa managers are ready to assist you in making a choice and provide comprehensive consultation.

Need professional assistance gathering all the required artifacts to build a mobile app? Order product ideation services from Lampa!

FAQ

1. Can NestJS and Next.js be used together?

Yes, traditionally, NestJS is used to build server-side web apps, while Next.js is used for the front end. Therefore, both platforms can be used to implement one project.

2. How should I choose between NestJS and Next.js for my project?

You should choose NestJS if your project is a server-side application or if you require features like modular structure and strict typing. Next.js is suitable for static React-based applications that require server-side rendering.

3. Is there a difference in development cost using NestJS and Next.js?

Various factors can affect the development cost, such as complexity, app type, team experience, etc. NestJS may be the better choice for web solutions geared towards server-side development. Next.js, on the other hand, has the potential to reduce costs for creating full-featured applications with high interface requirements.

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Web Development

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